At least one person has died and as many as 11 people have been injured after a massive 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck north-central Peru, according to the National Emergency Centre.
Authorities say they are in the process of assessing the extent of damage in the South American country, with Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra calling the quake “the biggest in 12 years since 2007″.
The quake, which struck early on Sunday, caused a large boulder to come crashing into a home in the Cajamarca region, killing one person, emergency officials said.
The quake hit about 80 kilometres south-east of the village of Lagunas and 158 kilometres east-northeast of the larger town of Yurimaguas.
Yet it was felt around the country, and as far off as Colombia and Ecuador, at an “intermediate depth” of around 110 kilometres.
Intermediate depth quakes typically cause less surface damage than shallower tremors. Peru sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where the majority of the world’s seismic activity occurs.
Firefighters were seen combing the affected areas, after old houses in Mariscal Castilla Street collapsed.
— Bomberos Perú (@bomberosPE) May 26, 2019
In the capital, Lima, people ran out of their homes in fear.
There were local reports of electric power cuts in the cities of Iquitos and Tarapoto, Amazonian towns in the Loreto region of the country.
Pictures and videos online also showed some cracked and damaged walls, homes shaking and a collapsed bridge.
In neighbouring Ecuador, the quake was strongest near Yantzaza, in that country’s remote and sparsely populated Amazon region, causing momentary power outages.
Ecuadorian officials reported at least seven people injured, as well as mudslides and minor damage to homes.
The country’s oil and mining infrastructure was operating normally, Ecuadorian Vice President Otto Sonnenholzner said on Twitter.
Power cuts were reported in a number of Amazonian cities.
Terrifying to be in our Airbnb in Lima on the 13th floor and feel the effects of the earthquake. It’ll be hard to sleep after that. Praying for all those closer to the epicenter #temblor
— Yecenia Tostado (@Yecenia_T) May 26, 2019
Prelim M8.0 Earthquake northern Peru May-26 07:41 UTC, updates https://t.co/5XoGoRMnxw
— USGS Big Quakes (@USGSBigQuakes) May 26, 2019
Earthquake.usgs.gov reports that quakes like Sunday’s event are commonly termed “intermediate-depth” earthquakes.
Three other intermediate-depth M7+ events have occurred within 250 kilometres over the past three decades.
A M7.5 earthquake in September 2005, located at a similar depth but about 130 kilometres to the west of this quake, caused five deaths, about 70 injuries and significant damage in the surrounding region.
“Intermediate-depth earthquakes represent deformation within subducted slabs rather than at the shallow plate interface between subducting and overriding tectonic plates,” the website explains.
“They typically cause less damage on the ground surface above their foci than is the case with similar magnitude, shallow-focus earthquakes, but large intermediate-depth earthquakes may be felt at great distance from their epicentres.”